COLUMBUS—State Senator Louis W. Blessing III (R-Colerain Township) and Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) will soon introduce a joint resolution strengthening and clarifying Ohio’s election law.
The resolution would place a Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot addressing a concern about the vulnerability of local elections.
Following a thorough review, it was determined that Ohio’s election integrity could face a potential loophole that would allow non-citizens to vote in candidate races and on tax issues affecting cities and villages.
“Most people would be surprised to learn that this situation even exists,” Edwards said. “Our proposal is very straight forward and makes clear that only a citizen may vote. I think it will draw strong support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.”
The Ohio Constitution provides home rule authority to municipalities and chartered counties. This rule could potentially be misused to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.
Recently, several communities around the country, including New York City and San Francisco, announced plans to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.
House Majority Leader Bill Seitz (R-Green Township) said, “These fringe ideas from the east and west coasts have a way of filtering into the heartland, so we are proactively seeking to curtail those novelties from ever gaining a foothold in the Buckeye State.”
This proposal seeks to ensure uniformity in our local, state, and federal elections," said Senator Blessing. “You must be a citizen to vote in state and federal elections, and there should be no possibility for non-citizens to vote in our local elections. Simply put, citizenship matters.”
The joint resolution would not impact federal elections as Congress is responsible for setting the requirements for voting in federal elections. In 1996, Congress passed a law making it a crime for a non-citizen to vote in a federal election.
If approved by a three-fifths vote in both the House and Senate, the measure would be on the November ballot.